Jul 19, 2008

The Six-Degrees Principle

Orkutting is fun..Its even funnier with this thing called 'mutual friends'..I know that it is not recent, but still there are a couple of interesting stuff thats associated with this..

There is something called as 'Six-degrees of separation' .. What it means is not that every two guys in world would be connected by 'six hops'.. It just says that the average number of 'hops' would be six.. There have been experiments to verify this concept in facebook, where the average hop-length turned out to be 5.73 ( Strong validation , I should say )

In the last couple of months, my orkut friends list increased from sub-300 levels to 470+ ( and still growing ) owing to IIMK admission..I've started looking into the mutual friends list whenever I get a new connection..And there have been instances when I got literally startled like
" Oh..How does he know HER ? ".. OR .. "Oh..man, she knows that bugger? How come? "...This sense of strangeness is quadrupled when u do random orkuting clicking on someone's profile ( I used to do this when I had ample free time in Oracle..but thats not the case anymore :( ) ..then clicking on their 'interesting' friends..and so on.. And u end up at a chick's profile ..but invariably, there would be some guy who'd be there in the mutual friends list...

Had orkut given a feature in which u can enter two orkut profile URLs and check if they are connected or not , it would have been even more interesting.. Eitherway, owing to these social networks, I've started to look for these 'degrees of separation' more often.. And as MBA students, we are told to do more and more networking..Though that doesnt mean just expanding the linkedin / facebook / orkut networks, this has become an integral part of it..

This is actually creepy at times..Like, after 10 years, when the social networks somehow use a common underlying platform & open communication APIs, practically every two individuals in any corner of the world could be connected in 'six hops' .. And if you want to know how social networking thing can affect your marriage chances, check this entertaining post by Vinay :-) .. There are people who do evaluation of potential partner by extensive 'orkut-research' and even for that matter 'scrapbook-research'. These people have been severely affected since orkut came up that security features and all..But I'm sure that people would find alternate, if not better ways :-)

PS:- I've quite a few tasks whose deadlines are tomorrow 23.59 PM and quite a few subjects to prepare for monday... But I knew I just had to post this regardless of whatever stuff thats pending... because without constant updates on this blog, I wouldn't just be myself... And I dont want that to happen.



Unknown said...

Oh..How does he know HER ?

Looks like you don't want interesting "chicks" to know any guy you might know :P

BTW, thanks for the coverage. Appreciate it!

Ajith Prasad Balakrishnan said...

@Vinay-- Nah..not that way..its just that, u get a strange surprise when u see such a mutual acquaintance.. Infact mutual acquaintances can be nice intro providers :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ajith. Mutual acquaintances are the best way you get to talk with a "chick". (If you don't have "Hitch-like" skills!)

Not only in social networks but also in person!

Anonymous said...

nice post da. social networking. hmm there are pitfalls too. cloning, scolding a friend's would-be, parish priest. More to follow :)

Suhas Anand said...

heheh interesting post....my bigger worry with social ntwrking would if the decrease in number of "hops" in real world....no of real world networks u make !!

Flyaway Mind said...

six degrees of deparation..quite interesting..who knows? "ur-future-chick" might be just a hop away..so keep ur fingers crossed :D

Serendipity said...

sub 300 to 470 + wow

Unknown said...

I was an orkut freak myself when it was enabled in our company network.. but nowadays...:(

Fact is, long long back I have also thought once how come even the firangs and I are separated by not more than 6(co-incidence?) hops.

but then I never put much thought it into it. Good to see a post on it. Now lemme check out vinays post!

S. Venkataramanan said...

Nice article and interesting comments. Hope you find your chick. See this related article on Six Degrees of Separation and Product Development 2.0 on my blog.

Anonymous said...

I found this "scrapbook research" being done extensively by some friends on my list. They've gone to ask me why I've written so & so in this/that scrapbook. Unbelievable. Like I remember every little detail my brain churns out on a daily basis!

I first heard about this six degrees principle in LOST. Took quite a few episodes to understand what was actually happening in the series.